CALL US: 206.533.3854
CALL US  206.533.3854
By Google - Android, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46396472

Supreme Court Rules for Samsung in Apple Design Patent Case

US Supreme Court:
Samsung May Not Have to Pay
As Much to Apple

The US Supreme Court has ruled that Samsung may not have to pay $399 million to Apple for copying the patented design of Apple phones.

Apple had sued because Samsung copied certain design elements of Apple phones, including the black rectangular face with rounded corners and the grid of colorful icons for apps.

Under federal law, a company that infringes a design patent for an “article of manufacture” is liable to the patent owner for its total profits. The Supreme Court’s decision in the case turned on the definition of that phrase.

In 2012, a jury found that Samsung had infringed the Apple design patents at issue and awarded Apple $399 million as part of an overall award of $1 billion. The damages award was based on the entire profit Samsung earned from sales of the infringing devices.

Writing for the unanimous Supreme Court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that an “article of manufacture” may be an entire product — in this case, an entire phone. But in some cases the “article” might be some component of a product.

She said that the Federal Circuit was wrong to have ruled that an “article of manufacture” must always be the ENTIRE product as sold to the consumer:

In the case of a design for a single-component product, such as a dinner plate, the product is the ‘article of manufacture’ to which the design has been applied. In the case of a design for a multicomponent product, such as a kitchen oven, identifying the ‘article of manufacture’ to which the design has been applied is a more difficult task.

The case has been sent back to the Federal Circuit for further consideration on the issue of damages.

As the New York Times reported, Mark A. Lemley, a law professor and director of the Stanford Program in Law, Science and Technology, said “the court basically punted”:

It seems to have clearly in its mind that the patent could cover only a portion of the device. But it said, ‘We’re not going to tell you what the right rule is.’

Related Articles

When is a patented product sold “within the United States”?

When is a product
“sold in the United States”?
It’s complicated.

Read More

Do AI content generators violate underlying IP rights?

IP owners sue
AI art generators.
What counts as “fair use”?

Read More

Patent Wars Come to Crypto

Veritaseum
Brings lawsuit against Circle
In patent dispute

Read More

Stay Informed

Sign up to receive Patent Poetry—a monthly roundup of key IP issues in our signature haiku format. Four articles (only 68 syllables); zero hassle.

SECTORS

HIGH
TECHNOLOGY

Artificial Intelligence

Blockchain & Cryptocurrency

Computer Technology & Software

Consumer Electronics

Electrical Devices

MECHANICAL
& PRODUCTS​

Cleantech

Mechanical Devices

Consumer & Retail Products

Hardware & Tools

Toys & Games

LIFE SCIENCES
& CHEMISTRY​

Biotechnology

Chemical Compounds

Digital Health

Healthcare Products

Pharmaceuticals

BRANDING
& CREATIVE​

Books & Publications

Brand Creation

Luxury Products

Photography & Video

Product Design